Hippokampos in the Grey Matter explores how we relate memories to a physical place and how these are shared with others, yet are never quite the same. The game takes people through a network of memories – places and trails from our past, and traces them into the physical landscape of Athens, exploring how memories can cross in the same way paths can. This game experience is inspired by psychogeography practice and research in the temporal memory. Psychogeography approaches our landscape through our human emotional and behavioral responses, instead strictly measurements of distance and features. With Hippocampus, we took someone’s memory of a favorite walk. (Temporal) and worked with them to extract the salients elements of the experience. Then used those elements to reimagine the walk in completely different space.

The alpha version of the game was developed as the final project for the module Art, Performance and the City in Geography department at Queen Mary University of London. The module was instrumental in laying the theoretical foundation for the game.

View example of photos from Alpha game.

Hippokampos was further developed through play testing at Fire Hazard and Hide & Seek SandPit  in July 2012.

The game was commissioned for the AthenPlaython and the final game and workshop was run in Athens, Greece in September 2012. On Day 1, we ran a workshop that introduced participants to using mobile mapping APIs. We guided the participants in game mechanics, the developed the narrative and clues for the game. The participants wrote the clues in both English and Greek. On Day 2, vistors to the AthenPlayton played the game and participants were able to see and evaluate the playability of their game.

The game was developed in collaboration with Mztek, a learning community in technology and arts for women.

Pollie Barden is a PhD Researcher QMUL's Cognitive Science research group. She is an artist, technologist, and game designer. She has run her games in festivals and presented her art in galleries and museums all over the globe. For nine years, Pollie has been engaging people with disabilities, teens and older people with technology with an aim to increase the opportunities to be involved in the open source community building. She has taught at various universities in US and UK. She co-founded and co-designed snagu, photo scavenger hunt game, that was a 2006 mtvU Digital Incubator Award winner. In 2011, she was one of the six co-founders of G.Hack, a women's technology club, that supports QMUL women in learning and sharing technology skills. With Furtherfield, a technology arts organization in London, UK and Culture Lab at Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK she ran a research project on Telematic Dinner Parties which explored the intersection of distance, food, dinning and games as influences on social presence in technology mediated social events. Her current research is in how gameplay and technology can ease to adoption of digital technology usage for older people.

Current research topic: Connecting Isolated Older People across Distance through Gameplay and Technology

Games have been used as a tool to introduce older people to digital technology. Here we are developing a gameful system to facilitate the social interactions between older people and young adults in an intergeneration community run club. We aim to ease the integration of digital tools through gameplay for older generations. Our research is about both the meaningful integration older people in the digital age and laying the groundwork for our future selves as older people. We hope to be able to learn and share strategizes for game designer, researchers and participants in the development of our emerging gameplay based society. We are designing for our future selves.